Cold Water Trails from Hurricanes Fabian and Isabel (WMS)

  • Released Wednesday, February 11th, 2004
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:56PM
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This visualization shows the cold water trails left first by Hurricanes Fabian and then by Hurricane Isabel in the Atlantic Ocean from August 27, 2003 through September 23, 2003. The colors on the ocean represent the sea surface temperatures, and satellite images of the hurricane clouds are laid over the temperatures to clearly show the hurricane positions. Orange and red depict regions that are 82 degrees F and higher, where the ocean is warm enough for hurricanes to form. Hurricane winds are sustained by the heat energy of the ocean, so the ocean is cooled as the hurricane passes and the energy is extracted to power the winds. A hurricane can experience a dramatic reduction in wind speed when it crosses the cold track of a previous hurricane. However, in this case, the cold water track from Fabian warmed up before Isabel crossed it, so Isabel's winds did not decrease. The sea surface temperatures were measured by the AMSR-E instrument on the Aqua satellite, while the cloud images were taken by the Imager on the GOES-12 satellite.

Color bar for sea surface temperature, in degrees Celsius.

Color bar for sea surface temperature, in degrees Celsius.

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Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio The Blue Marble Next Generation data is courtesy of Reto Stockli (NASA/GSFC) and NASA's Earth Observatory.


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Datasets used in this visualization

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